Kidney stones are hard collections of salt and minerals that are often composed of calcium or uric acid.
They grow within the kidney and may spread to other parts of the urinary tract..
The size of the stones varies. Some are the size of a period at the end of this sentence — a fraction of an inch. Others can reach a size of a few inches across. Some kidney stones can grow to be so large that they consume the entire kidney.
A kidney stone develops when so many minerals in your body build up in your urine. When you are dehydrated, the urine becomes more concentrated and contains a higher concentration of certain minerals. A kidney stone is more likely to develop when mineral levels are high.
Smaller kidney stones that linger in the kidney seldom cause symptoms. You do not know something is wrong until the stone enters your ureter, which is the conduit that urine passes through to get from your kidney to your bladder.
Kidney stones are normally excruciatingly painful. The majority of stones can move on their own without any care. However, if the stones do not pass, you can need a procedure to break them up or remove them.
1. Pain in the back, belly, or side
Kidney stone pain, also known as renal colic, is one of the most intense forms of pain that can be experienced. Some kidney stone sufferers equate the pain to childbirth or being stabbed with a knife.
The pain is severe enough that over one million people visit emergency rooms each year.
The pain usually begins when a stone moves through the narrow ureter. This results in a blockage, causing pressure to build up in the kidney.
The pressure stimulates nerve fibres, which send pain signals to the brain.
Kidney stone pain often manifests itself abruptly. The pain shifts in position and strength as the stone moves.
The pain always comes in waves, which is exacerbated by the ureters contracting as they attempt to force the stone out. Each wave lasts a few minutes before dissipating and reappearing.
The pain can be felt around your side and back, just below your ribs. As the stone passes down your urinary tract, it will radiate to your belly and groyne.
Larger stones may be more painful than smaller ones, but the intensity of the pain is not always proportional to the size of the stone. Even a small stone can cause pain if it moves or causes a blockage.
2. Urinary discomfort or burning
When the stone enters the junction of the ureter and bladder, you will experience discomfort when urinating. Your doctor may refer to this as dysuria.
The discomfort may be sharp or burning. If you are unaware that you have a kidney stone, you can misdiagnose it as a urinary tract infection. It is possible to have an infection in addition to the stone.
3. There is an urgent need to leave.
Another indication that the stone has passed into the lower part of your urinary tract is the need to go to the toilet more quickly or regularly than normal. You can find yourself having to use the restroom often during the day and night.
Urinary urgency can also be mistaken for a symptom of a urinary tract infection.
4. Urine with blood
A common symptom of urinary tract stones is blood in the urine. This condition is also known as hematuria.
Blood can be crimson, pink, or brown in colour. Since blood cells are often too small to see without a microscope (a condition known as microscopic hematuria), your doctor will test for this symptom.
5. cloudy or odorous urine
Urine that is safe is transparent and does not have a heavy odour. Cloudy or odorous urine can indicate an infection in your kidneys or another part of your urinary tract.
According to one study, approximately 8% of people with acute kidney stones had a urinary tract infection.
Cloudiness in the urine is a symptom of pyuria or pus urine. The odour can be caused by bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. Urine that is more concentrated than normal can also emit an odour.
6. Take it one step at a time
Large kidney stones may become lodged in the ureter. The flow of urine may be slowed or stopped due to this obstruction.
If you have a blockage, you can only be able to urinate a small amount each time you go. A complete cessation of urine flow is a medical emergency.
7. Vomiting and nausea
It is normal for people who have a kidney stone to experience nausea and vomiting.
These symptoms occur as a result of mutual nerve connections between the kidneys and the GI tract. Kidney stones can cause nerves in the GI tract to fire, resulting in an upset stomach.
Nausea and vomiting can also be the body’s way of coping with severe pain.
8. High fever and chills
Fever and chills are symptoms of an infection in the kidney or another part of the urinary tract. This is a potentially fatal complication of a kidney stone. Aside from kidney stones, it may also be a symptom of other serious problems. Any fever accompanied by pain necessitates immediate medical treatment.
Fevers caused by an infection are typically elevated — 100.4 F (38 C) or higher. Chills or shivering are common symptoms of fever.